Guest post by Seattle Aquarium Animal Care Technician Aubrey Theiss
Meet Hardy, the newest rescued orphaned northern sea otter pup at the Vancouver Aquarium. He was rescued from northern Vancouver Island and is now receiving 24-hour care. The Seattle Aquarium is assisting the Vancouver Aquarium with the rehabilitation of this old pup, estimated to be seven to nine weeks old. Two to three days each week during August and September, a member of the Seattle Aquarium animal care staff will be traveling to the Vancouver Aquarium to offer our help.
A typical day in the life of a sea otter pup consists mainly of sleeping, swimming, eating and grooming. After waking up from his naps, which can last anywhere from five minutes to several hours, Hardy is picked up from his special sea otter crib and placed into a pool. Some sessions in the pool may be just for play time, but every few hours he needs to be fed.
At this age, Hardy’s primary food source is a sea otter pup formula offered from a bottle—however, he’s also starting to receive bits of surf clam which are delivered directly into his paws. After he’s done swimming, he’s brought to a nearby table where we use towels and brushes to assist him in grooming. This daily routine can be exhausting for a pup and once he is finished grooming, it’s usually time for another nap!
Hardy recently had a big day: Kristi Heffron, senior marine mammal trainer at the Vancouver Aquarium, took Hardy for his first swim in the main sea otter pool! The water level was lowered halfway and he swam to the window, where he visited with guests. The very next day the pool was filled all the way up and he began to dive! To see this footage, click this link and see Hardy on his big adventure.
Stay tuned for future updates about Hardy’s progress on our blog. Interested in learning more about sea otters? Come meet Adaa, Lootas, Aniak, Sekiu and Mishka at the Seattle Aquarium—and read our sea otter animal fact sheet!